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  1. #1
    Member Elfie's Avatar
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    Default Conserving energy, breath and cutting down on overheating!

    This may need to be in the fitness section, but I thought it would be more something about learning how to do these things.

    I dance for fitness right now - though I do actually dance and not just drill moves for a workout. I do drill moves, but that is to learn them. When I dance, I can literally feel the ounces and pounds melting away. It's cardio and aerobics all in one!

    Anyhow. I run out of steam after about 30-40 minutes of dancing. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to make your energy last longer throughout the dances (assuming, of course, that you dance to more than one song)? When I dance, it is very high energy. I sometimes dance with my eyes closed and just let the music take me. Sometimes I go too far and by the end of my set of songs, I'm totally pooped. So much so that I end up napping for a good hour and a half.

    Breath control. I try to keep my breaths slow and even, no more than 15 per minute. However, I still run out of breath. Note that I am a smoker, and I've smoked for a long time. I want to quit... eventually. Maybe. Someday. If I ever get around to it. But, do any of you have any ideas on how to keep my breathing from going all to pieces? Other than "Stop smoking, Elfie!!"

    Lastly, how much of a factor is clothing material in overheating? By 15 minutes, I'm sweating profusely - and I'm not one that is prone to sweating. My body is not in horrible shape, it's not supermodel great, but I have pretty abs (not washboard, eww! Still nice and smooth for the most part with a teensy bit of jiggle. Ladies should be a bit softer and curvier, methinks) and my back is very strong. My thighs and backside are a bit bigger than I would like, but they are slowly shaping up. What I wear to practice in: A pair of nicely form showing (not painted on, but they show my curves quite nicely) pants of windbreaker type material (not quite the same but close) and a makeshift belly top of see through meshy stuff.

    Now, bear in mind, I am not dancing with wild abandon. No whirling dervishes (ha! Like I could in my living room) or anything. But I do put all I've got into my dancing. It's the best way to work out my body and get to know what I can do with the dance. The movements and transitions, level changes and layers are not perfectly smooth, but they are serviceable and working on getting better. I just don't want to... pass out or hurt myself by overheating.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Eshta's Avatar
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    Here's a quick and easy fix: stick a slow song or a taqsim into your set and try focusing on the control and emotional expression. Also a very important part of belly dance!

    Also try to challenge yourself to do less but more effective moves. There is incredible power in doing nothing during a "performance", or even doing something very slowly. But it's surprisingly difficult to do!

    Also, try to think from an audience point of view. Yes, I know you are not performing, but it helps explain what I'm trying to say. It is very exhausting for an audience member to watch someone explode onto the stage and throw every move they have at you. Contrasting high energy and smaller, more concentrated sections keep it interesting for an audience, and also helps better reflect the music.

    It doesn't sound to me like your fitness is the problem, but I suspect the way you dance may be. Sounds like you may be 'over-dancing' a little!

  3. #3
    Member Elfie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshta View Post
    Here's a quick and easy fix: stick a slow song or a taqsim into your set and try focusing on the control and emotional expression. Also a very important part of belly dance!

    Also try to challenge yourself to do less but more effective moves. There is incredible power in doing nothing during a "performance", or even doing something very slowly. But it's surprisingly difficult to do!

    Also, try to think from an audience point of view. Yes, I know you are not performing, but it helps explain what I'm trying to say. It is very exhausting for an audience member to watch someone explode onto the stage and throw every move they have at you. Contrasting high energy and smaller, more concentrated sections keep it interesting for an audience, and also helps better reflect the music.

    It doesn't sound to me like your fitness is the problem, but I suspect the way you dance may be. Sounds like you may be 'over-dancing' a little!
    I have some slow songs in there. This is one (link goes to youtube) and this is another (also youtube - a live performance of a different song). These are instrumental covers of Metallica songs though. The music has so many different layers within it that it feels like my body has to react to it. At times I'm pulling painter arms with maya and chest circles while traveling forward. I bet you are absolutely right. I am over-dancing.

    In case anyone is wondering why I chose this type of music, I am trying to learn emotional interpretation as well as improv dancing - and what better way than to choose songs I know by heart and love to hear? Even without the original lyrics, I can "hear them" in my head and it helps. At least for me.

    I love subtle dancing - Classical Egyptian is wonderful to see. I will try giving it some variety (slowing down, stationary with just arms etc) without throwing it all out there and "balls out" dancing as I'm prone to. Thank you Eshta!

  4. #4
    Member Chani's Avatar
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    Gosh, I think anybody would be stuffed after 40 minutes of consistent dancing but generally I find a little rest after exercise enough - I don't usuall fall to sleep. I'm dancing in Australia and in Summer it's sweltering. We are sweating waiting in the wings before we even begin to perform when we have our layers of costumes and make up on. There is not much to be done for performances - we have learned to wear water proof make up and killer under arm protection and we take any photos before we dance when we aren't dripping with sweat (noty very glamorous).

    However, for practice we dance in air conditioning or at the very least have fans on and we wear as little as possitle - tank tops and stretchy dance pants with out hair tied up. The pants you are wearing sound like maybe they can't breathe. The pants I wear are like yoga pants - they feel like cotton and breathe but they are stretchy so I expect they are a blended fabric (tag long gone).

    I agree that alternating fast moves with slower more controled moves to pace yourself sounds like a good idea.

  5. #5
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Stop smoking, Elfie. Had to say it because you're a great addition to the forum and we don't want to lose you any time soon.

    My big problem is that my head sweats. Not the rest of me, just my head so that moisture runs into my eyes and blinds me and ruins my make up. I've decided that a decorative headband lined with absorbant cotton is my new "signature." I've always lined my hipbands and bras with cotton that can be taken out and washed or replaced as needed.

    To conserve energy during practice, I carefully arrange music to allow a build up to a crescendo then taper off. That allows a warmup period and a cool down period to music followed by a session of stretching. For a long performance, I alter tempos to allow myself breaks so that I can save enough energy for a gala finish. People don't much do the old AmCab style 5-7 pieces of music per 20-25 minute routine anymore, which makes me delightfully retro, hmmm? Anyway, it works.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  6. #6
    Member Elfie's Avatar
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    Shanazel: Well, thank you. I do want to stop smoking at some point. I just haven't the actual desire yet, if that makes sense. I have to say that the absorbent cotton is an excellent idea. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with retro! (Says the hippie girl born out of her time - I'd have been perfectly happy in the seventies.)

    Chani: I'd almost trade a lung for air conditioning. I have an air conditioner, but it's a huge beast of a machine and won't fit into any of my windows. I always workout/practice with my hair up too. It usually comes undone by the time I'm finished, though.

  7. #7
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I just haven't the actual desire yet, if that makes sense.
    Makes perfect sense.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  8. #8
    Member Elfie's Avatar
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    Sheesh, I said seventies. I meant sixties, LOL. I could not do disco boots!

    Re: smoking: I want to stop for my health. I know it is bad for me and it really takes a toll on my breathing. But, I just don't stop buying them. I figure when I really, really want to stop, I will.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Eshta's Avatar
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    You're right Elfie, I recently started up smoking again after years of not smoking (stoopid stoopid stoopid), when you're ready and you hate it enough you'll quit. Not before then.

    So, any progress on not collapsing after practicing?!

  10. #10
    Member Elfie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshta View Post
    You're right Elfie, I recently started up smoking again after years of not smoking (stoopid stoopid stoopid), when you're ready and you hate it enough you'll quit. Not before then.

    So, any progress on not collapsing after practicing?!
    Actually, there is! I noticed too that when I slow down certain moves, I can hit beats of the music that I was having a hard time hitting before. It's great!

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